Hot-hitting Cubs come from behind to defeat Brewers
|Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 11:13 PM- -|
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have always been an unorthodox club, so for them to end a woeful four-game losing skid by coming back from four runs down and accruing nine runs on 14 hits only makes too much sense. Going from the proverbial outhouse to the penthouse, the Cubs were unstoppable in the second half of tonight's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, scoring five runs in the final four innings as part of a 9-7 comeback victory.
For the second night in a row, the Cubs' starting pitcher faltered early, as starter Brett Anderson allowed three runs to cross the plate in the top of the first. After a groundout in the first at-bat, the Brewers came alive, collecting one single and three doubles en route to taking their commanding 3-0 lead.
First baseman Eric Thames and left fielder Ryan Braun, both Cub killers in Game 1 of this series, continued their hot-hitting ways by doubling and singling, respectively, to spark the Milwaukee run. Thereafter, Travis Shaw doubled to deep left and scored Thames. Braun, who went 2-4 at the plate on the evening, was brought home on an RBI grounder after that. Catcher Manny Piña drove home the third run of the opening inning with a double to left that scored Shaw and left Anderson visibly flustered on the mound.
Later, in the third inning, the top half of the Milwaukee lineup continued to inflict its wrath upon Anderson, who was pitching in just his third start in a Cubs uniform. Effectively making a mockery of Anderson, the Brewers added two more runs in the third in a very similar manner to the path that they took to scoring three in the first. To start off, Thames and Braun reciprocated their first-inning successes with a double and a single back to back. Then, Shaw hit his second RBI double of the game to score Thames, which was followed by a sacrifice that plated Braun.
Trailing by an embarrassing five-run margin at home in the bottom of the third, Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber made it a game by walloping a two-run home run to right that scored center fielder Jon Jay and decreased the Cubs' deficit to a respectable three runs. The round-tripper was Schwarber's third of the season. With the exception of that yard ball, Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson performed well in the early innings.
Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia saw Schwarber's home run to right and raised it with one of his own to lead off the fourth inning. Arcia's first long ball of the season, the homer provided Milwaukee with a 6-2 advantage and ultimately resulted in Anderson being pulled from the game a few at-bats later, ending his cringe-worthy six-run outing after a meager 3.2 innings.
Tonight's game featured its fair share of dingers, with two by each team. The Cubs' second home run occurred in the bottom half of the fourth, as catcher Miguel Montero, who had a solid 3-4 showing at the dish tonight, went yard for the first time in 2017. A two-run blast, Montero's shot scored right fielder Jason Heyward after J-Hey began the inning with a single to left-center. Heyward, who was impotent at the plate last postseason, has started off this season firing on all cylinders offensively, as he has hit safely in 12 of the 13 games that he has played in thus far.
Soon after, the Brewers answered the bell with their second home run of the game. Coming off of Cubs reliever Brian Duensing, Shaw crushed his third home run of the year to put the Brew Crew up 7-4. A recent addition to the Cubs' 25-man roster, Duensing has struggled in the few appearances that he has made so far, contributing to the recent failures out of the Chicago bullpen.
The Cubs were able to rally in the sixth inning, however, chasing Nelson, who finished with nine hits and seven runs to his name, from the game and scoring four runs in the process. With one out, Chicago's bats caught fire, as Montero singled, second baseman Javier Báez doubled and outfielder Albert Almora singled all in rapid success, with Almora's knock to left scoring both base runners to bring the Cubs to within a run. Almora now has six RBI this season.
Jared Hughes then came on in relief of Nelson, but that did not slow the Cubbies down. Jay came up with perhaps his biggest hit since becoming a Cub by smacking a triple into the gap between right and center, scoring Almora and knotting the game up. Clearly shaken, Hughes proceeded to enable Jay to come home by way of a wild pitch, thus resulting in the Cubs taking their first lead of the game at 8-7.
The Cubs held their ground for the rest of the way, with relievers Carl Edwards and Héctor Rondón mowing the Brewers' batting order down in the seventh and eighth innings and Kris Bryant contributing to the Cubs' high-scoring night with an RBI double to left in the bottom of the eighth that scored pinch hitter Willson Contreras.
Cubs closer Wade Davis took care of business in the bottom of the ninth, closing the book on the Cubs' successful comeback attempt, as well as their losing streak. Winning 9-7, the Cubs moved to 7-7, while the Brewers dropped to 8-7.
A far cry from the last handful of Cubs games, tonight's matchup was partially won by the North Siders because of effective relief pitching, as the Cubs retired 15 of the final 16 Milwaukee batters. Chicago reliever Justin Grimm earned his first win of the year, while Edwards was given a hold for his efforts, and Davis collected his third save of 2017. Hughes, who gave up the winning run, was named the game's loser, making him 1-1 overall. The rubber match of this three-game series will commence at Wrigley Field tomorrow afternoon at 1:20 PM CST.
We never quit. pic.twitter.com/6uBvoG9RDH— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 19, 2017